UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet said Wednesday that it remained unsafe for Rohingya refugees to return to their homes in Myanmar, nearly five years after a crackdown there sparked an exodus to neighbouring Bangladesh.
Nearly a million members of the mostly Muslim minority live in a sprawling and squalid patchwork of refugee settlements near Bangladesh’s southern coast.
Most fled their homes after a 2017 Myanmar army offensive that is now subject to a landmark genocide case in the UN’s top court.
Five years later the refugees refuse to go home in the absence of guarantees for their safety and rights in Myanmar, which is now ruled by a military junta after the ouster of its civilian government last year.
“Unfortunately the current situation across the border means that the conditions are not right for returns,” Bachelet told reporters in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka.
“Repatriation must always be conducted in a voluntary and dignified manner, only when safe and sustainable conditions exist in Myanmar.”
Bachelet is on a four-day visit to Bangladesh before her term as UN high commissioner for human rights ends later this month.